Sunday, April 16, 2017

Friends in High Places: The Real Housewives of Toronto

The Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode Six

It is official. The Real Housewives of Toronto is not a reality TV show at all. It's one epic infomercial promoting the business concerns of not just the wives and their husbands, but their friends as well. 

They present some of it in the guise of "charity" but that's merely a justification for their greed and a diversion from their true agenda (exaltation of self). However, in the battle of good versus evil, what is good often uses what is evil as an unwitting tool of grace, so I'm not so "outraged" that I can't continue trashing this show. 

Luckily, it's not all bad, though. Watching the always amusing Stephen, especially as he struggles with his nemesis, broccoli, has put me into delicious fits of laughter on more than one occasion. He is truly the highlight of the whole shebang. 

As Ann waxes poetic about their life together, Stephen tries his best to pay attention, but all he can think about is this vile smelling cabbage head he's being forced to choke down. He's so close to saying fuck it, spitting out the broccoli and reaching for the bottle. Screw longevity. In Vino Veritas.

If satire wasn't my goal, I'd probably have nicer things to write about him and his wife, as well as the others, but you can't put a spotlight on the folly of mortal man by being "nice". It doesn't work.

Everyone gets bored and goes charging after an innocent person, group or animal to victimize. There is a sadist in all of us that demands appeasement. The important thing is that you learn to master your inner sadist so that the extent of your "cruelty" does not go beyond a barely perceptible smirk at an inappropriate joke. I myself am not quite there yet, but I'm working on it. In the meantime, the folly of the Real Housewives of Toronto is fair game.

If Truth were everywhere to be shown, a Scarlet Letter would blaze forth on many a bosom
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

But first things first. Why is Jana even on a show about married socialites? She is neither of these things. Lala smells a rat. What did she and the "Joga girls" have to do exactly, with what Roger Ailes type executive, in what after-hours, dimly-lit auditioning room with a pole? Don't be so "appalled" by the insinuation. Jana is as much a participant in her slut shaming as she is a victim of it. 

Jana explains with a lascivious tilt to her voice that she likes her Joga girls to do "tips and tricks" with the golfers so "when they come to our hole, we give them a tip that will help their golf game". 

When she sits across from Gregg Zaun batting her eyelashes, intimately reaching across the table to fondle him, and suggestively asking if he wants "her girls" to perform stretches and "tricks" (*wink* *wink*) for him and his golfing buddies at the charity tournament they're exploiting, she's well-aware there are cameras on her. 

She knows what she's doing and in fact says it outright: "It's great to have a chance to support my friends in a way that helps my business as well. We do cross promotion with Joga sponsors". 

It would seem Jana Webb's "mentor" and former Real Housewives of Vancouver cast member, Brett Wilson, taught her everything she knows about "cross-promotion". He openly rationalizes exploiting human suffering (euphemistically calling it "charity") for his own profit and that of his "friends", which Jana parrots wholeheartedly. You "scratch" my back, I'll "scratch" yours. Wilson is proud of this exploitation philosophy, too. He in fact never shuts up about it, his mouth constantly agape like an unmuzzled hound that's been kicked in the head too many times, slobbering capitalist propaganda wherever he goes: "I’ve made a lot of money off the relationships that I’ve built. The goal was to USE (aka exploit) our charity budget as our marketing budget and the result was that we ended up building some pretty powerful relationships. I have trouble believing that there is something wrong with USING (aka exploiting) charity" (Source). This babbling fool along with his legions of babbling bimbos and babbling buffoons seem to have "trouble" believing a lot of things that are true. Refusing to believe truth and refusing to accept hard realities because those realities don't serve your personal agenda isn't critical thinking, MORON.

"Cross promotion" is obviously code for some sort of sex act. Your guess is as good as mine as to what act specifically, but Gregg seems to know right away as he coyly smiles and answers, "You girls are always such a big hit". I bet they are Gregg. I.Bet.They.Are.

The look on Gregg's face when he hears about Jana's latest Joga girl "trick and tip". It involves cupping and lifting the scrotum of a golfer lucky enough to land on a Joga Girl "hole". "Balls up, boys," Jana quips, licking her lips like she's getting ready for a meal and not just downing more booze. So much for the Muskoka excuse.
Jana's perma Jim Carrey "The Mask" neon grin widens even more, defying all measures of probability in the process, as she reassures Gregg that her "Joga girls are all ramped, booked and ready to go" if you catch her drift. What risky business is this, anyway? Is she trying to be the Canadian sport and fitness world's answer to Heidi Fleiss?

"I really want to be more apart of it....anyway we can do that," Jana directs the golf tournament conversation into murkier waters as Gregg eagerly follows along. "Do you still want us to do the 'stretch' in the morning with all the golfers?" she asks all coy now. Gregg's definitely "into it".

Jana, the Heidi Fleiss protege, might be wise to what's going on here and gaming the show for her own ends, but slow-witted Joan is another story. 

Joan is AMAZED by weirdo looking John and his in-the-box design idea: "He's one of these out of the box thinkers", she coos. What brings on this adulation? His suggestion is to separate sectional pieces of a couch and shove "a cool little custom" walnut table between the pieces. What am I missing? How is this an out-of the-box idea that makes Johnathan so good at what he does?? What is wrong with Joan's brain? Pretty soon this really is going to feel cruel and I won't be able to say another word about her questionable intelligence, limited insight and poor judgment.

She's so busy mentally taxing herself with home decor and being "amazed" with her weird ass looking friend and his remedial school design suggestions that it completely goes over her head that she is the butt of a joke. Jana (wise only to things that serve her specifically) and Grego are simply aghast when they are informed of this. 

"IT'S MUSKOKA!!!" Jana and Grego scream in unison, their faces contorting and twisting to reveal their true hideous form, "WE DO WHAT WE DO IN MUSKOKA !!" What does that mean now? There are so many innuendos when Heidi Fleiss Jana Webb is around.

Apparently they too didn't grasp the intent behind Kara's gag gift to Joan until Roxy, embittered after, in Jana's words, she was "embarrassed and humiliated" that none of Michael's elaborate gowns were big enough to fit her, spills the beans out of pure spite.

Another one whose hidden witch comes screeching out the second she is challenged.

(How is that anyone else's fault, by the way? If you're unhappy with your size, Roxy, go on a fucking diet, otherwise keep it to yourself. Your whiny bitterness implies you're not actually as "proud" of your "curves" as you claim. And this has nothing to do with "fat shaming", this has to do with another entitled bitch princess who believes she is beyond reproach, that even her flaws are perfect and woe to ANYONE who DARES to mention the elephant in the room. I understand, though, breaking through denial is painful, but when you reach honesty's greener pastures and attain the kind of self-awareness and acceptance that allows one to laugh at herself, warts and all, you'll find it's worth it).

When Roxy initially broaches the subject of Joan's denseness, she at first seems to imply Kara was badmouthing the entire group and IMMEDIATELY Jana and Grego defensively launch into attack mode before they've even heard any details. 

Now that they understand Kara was only referring to Joan, they are still defensive on their drinking buddy's behalf, but nowhere near as enraged as when they initially thought THEY were the ones being insulted. These women REALLY do not like it when someone hurts their feelings. Nice to see that grin wiped off Jana's face. Reality's a bitch, Jana.

They calm down significantly, though, when Roxy, relishing in having recruited more rage and indignation to her side, reluctantly concedes that actually the only woman Kara's been saying "horrible things" about is Joan. 

In reality, the only "horrible" thing Kara has said is, "Having fun is not an excuse for behaving badly". This comment was mainly in regards to how sloppy drunk Joan got at an earlier dinner Kara meticulously went to the trouble of putting together for the women. 

When people get that drunk to the point they can't even speak, it ruins everything from dinners to other kinds of social gatherings, to childhoods, marriages and beyond. Kara was therefore completely justified in being pissed off and her approach for dealing with it was not "vindictive", as the editing might have you believe, but was inspired.

Using humor to make a statement about hard to hear truths is one of the kindest ways to open someone's eyes to the reality of self-destructive beliefs and behaviors to which they are otherwise blind. 

There is an understandable reason for this blindness – if we had to face the harsh reality of every single one of our personal failings, it would be downright debilitating (for everyone excluding those without a conscience). You'd never get out of bed, you'd lie there a tortured insomniac berating yourself with the same counterproductive thoughts over and over until eventually suicide seems like your only escape. 

That said, living in utter denial of the most dysfunctional of one's behaviors can have the same deleterious effect on a life. So when a person comes along and highlights a flaw for you, whether friend, who does it as gently as possible with humor and empathy, or foe, who does it with snark and ill-intent, it's to your benefit to take what may feel like a sting at first, not as an injustice or insult, but as a "blessing in disguise". As an old Jesuit once said: "A wise person gets more use from her enemies than a fool from her friends".

I drink to make other people more interesting ~ Ernest Hemingway

Besides, gargantuan wine glasses that fit an entire bottle of vino are hilarious. I too have embarrassed myself MANY times over the years after imbibing a "little" too much. This is why, regardless of how it may be coming across, I find this whole drunken fiasco not only hysterical, but also why I feel  – deeply feel – Joan's humiliation. You are not alone, Joan. Alcohol and the internet: The great equalizers of our time.

Not that the privileged in all their grandiosity are happy to hear from the peasants, mind you. EVEN the privileged who were once peasants themselves! Oh how quickly they forget. It's why worldwide peace is impossible (sorry to break it to you Rhonda Byrne converts). Power and the need to control always corrupts, bringing the evil oppressors to the top and eventually collapsing the entire dominance hierarchy into chaos and despair.

Many of these privileged people, i.e. the rich and infamous, despite using the internet themselves, seem to believe with religious conviction that whatever they do or say, no matter how depraved or ignorant, should go by without criticism. They only want praise and if you don't give it to them, they either disregard you altogether as nothing but an annoying flea or mosquito not worthy of their attention, or spout some pompous nonsense about cowardice. 

First of all, you can ignore a single flea or solitary mosquito as much as you want, but their bite still itches and where there is one insect, there's always more. 

Secondly, neurodiversity dictates that every brain has different weaknesses, strengths, and reactions to stimuli that have absolutely nothing to do with culturally manufactured ideas about what is brave or cowardly. 

By way of illustration, for the naturally born extrovert, especially one coursing with massive amounts of testosterone, confrontation and spouting off about any preposterous notion that occurs to him without a moment's hesitation is as instinctual as breathing. For the more reserved, thoughtful, alert and hyper-aware naturally born introvert, it's a completely different situation.

This is unfortunate because these are the novel, free-thinking minds the world NEEDS to hear from more often, although, as I've said, this amazing (in the TRUE sense of the word) creation known as the "information superhighway" equalizes things somewhat. It coaxes contemplative introverts out of their prudent shells with the promise of anonymity (trolls too obviously, but there's a downside to everything so you take the good with the bad). 

Nevertheless, in spite of the introvert's cautious merging into the superhighway, the mainstream culture is still predominately bombarded with the opinions of easily offended ignoramuses and extroverted bullies pumped up on power, bravado and the uncritical worship of yes men. 

Richard Dawkins pet vampire parrot. Vicious creatures. They repeat what they are trained to repeat with a nasty bite.
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber ~ Winston Churchill

And unlike Rob Ford (the apologizing man), most of the king bullies of this world DO NOT under ANY circumstance apologize. Dead babies, the refugee crisis, famine (unfunny link) and rape aren't funny Ricky Gervais, and you're a nonredeemable sadistic prick through and through. This suffering planet does not need ANY MORE of the oppressive misery comedic assholes like Gervais inflict on people who are already enduring horrific trials and tribulations. He pours acid on the open wounds of human beings writhing in pain, and snickers at their torment with his ever ready vampire smile. Ricky, what sharp teeth you have.

The better to eat you with, my dear.

The irreverence of "ironically" calling a comedy tour "Humanity" when he's being anything BUT humane should no longer be tolerated in a world teeming with such heart-wrenching humanitarian crises, traumatized children and the REAL possibility of nuclear war. His idea of a joke contributes nothing to the betterment of humankind and isn't clever. He, his friends and their smug white male privilege are on the wrong side of history (source). The future will not look back on them fondly, but Hades looks forward to their arrival.

Don't worry, son, there's no Savior in hell, but Karma visits there and she too has an unapologetic sense of humor. Enjoy.

Not that this plea or anyone else's would have any sway on a man like Gervais. He downright enjoys his cruelty. If you watch him closely enough and freeze frame, you'll literally see his lip curl into an anticipatory snarl like he's Caligula reincarnated in hyena form, getting off on his victims' agony as he roasts them with the savagery of his words and pranks. He's another mortal who's grown too big for his britches and sorely needs a day of reckoning. However, with so many bamboozled fans stroking his ego, I don't see how that's going to happen any time soon.
Thirdly, in addition to constantly having their egos stroked, people with unlimited resources and clout have a nasty, vindictive tendency to blackball those who are critical of them, or who refuse to bow down to their demands. These are people who have the ability to destroy a dissident's life. The physically repulsive Roger Ailes, for example, did it with women who refused to submit to his sexual advances, ending careers before they've started. And misogynists with loyal armies of online trolls do it ALL THE TIME to women who express opinions that do not fall in line with their irrational hatred.

To put it another way, David and Goliath make for good fiction, but the reality is that when a lone insect attempts to full-on face off with a giant megalomaniac, the most probable thing that happens is the insect gets squashed, if it's noticed at all. 

This is why this common reaction by the rich and famous to dismiss criticism on social media as nothing but the cowardly rantings of "jealous haters" is a bogus argument.

There is an existential threat involved with approaching raging bulls and rabid giants if you're nothing but an insect, an Ant. It would be pretty fucking stupid to attempt that without some sort of protection (anonymity equals protection, although it's harder to be anonymous nowadays with so much surveillance infrastructure successfully put in place, which the ants themselves have been duped into helping maintain! This addiction to the selfie and constant Facebook status updates is pure idiocy. Ego and vanity have always been and always will be a manipulable Achilles heel).

Why would an ant even want to approach the monster foot of a giant beast and possibly get stamped out? Because there is an even greater existential threat involved with doing nothing at all. The beasts are having too powerful of an influence on the ant's friends and the habitat! Someone has to wake the other ants up before there's no where left to colonize. No matter how futile it seems, doing something is better than doing nothing and there's always a chance another ant might notice what you're doing, recognize a kindred spirit and join the fight. Ants (once they find each other and are awake) stick together.

Ant Anonymity: "Ants, whose invasive colonies may span hundreds of miles and multiple continents, have societies that can be millions strong. To cooperate, members don't need to recognize each other as individuals. There are pheromones that define friend or foe. So even with millions of strangers, there's no ambiguity about who's who". Source: National Geographic, The Journey of the Apostles, March 2012 edition, page 30

In addition to the above, the privileged, like those we see shamelessly posing on The Real Housewives of Toronto, cluster together like a coven of witches and goblins with all their financing hosts. They rig the game so that a few are always on top and stay there. 

"Cheers to us and only us!!!" Look at Joan's face. She's SO READY for another drink!

They ensure their dominance by feeding and toasting only themselves, making alliances and striking deals with each other at the exclusion of everyone else. We see this happening in every single episode of The Real Housewives of Toronto whether it's Jana "cross-promoting" her business with that of her friend's golf tournament, or Grego taking the opportunity to display her husband's wine label like she's a cheap, poorly rehearsed infomercial spokesperson.

Grego: "This is a private label from the Spoke Club". She enunciates Spoke Club very carefully so no one misses that the wine comes from THE SPOKE CLUB.

Kara also takes the opportunity to endorse a fashion designer she's chummy with, as well as sell tickets to the other women for a charity gala dear to her heart. This perplexes Ann who cannot fathom why anyone would take money from people they don't like. It boggles her surgically mutilated head why a person would do something that doesn't serve her own vanity and her own vanity alone. 

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

But it's for charity, so who gives a shit where the money comes from? You're never going to abolish the ills of this world by snubbing them. When you find yourself living a rigged game, where the rules are set by a select few who tweak the guidelines on a whim, giving themselves advantages denied others, the only hope you have of doing any good at all is strategy, stealth and infiltration. There is no point in lamenting the unfairness of it. You're damn right it's unfair, but wallowing in pity does nothing to change it. Besides, if a business venture can take advantage of charity to make itself look good for marketing purposes, then charity has every right to return the "punch" so to speak.  In other words, never feel conflicted about taking their money, Kara. 

As a believer, you're called to help those in need, and whose heathen souls are more in need than the self-glorifying rich? By giving your friends and foes an opportunity to be charitable, you're hitting two birds with one stone: You not only answer the call with regards to the poor and suffering, like a candle flickering in the abyss, you also inch the lost a fraction closer to the light, whether they realize it or not. Putting others before self replenishes the soul and helps heal the earth.

On that note, I think I've rambled on long enough. Roxy's eyelashes, Stephen's broccoli troubles, men who wear jewelry, Joga girls and Jana's childish feeling of being offended because she couldn't afford a dress will have to wait another day. 

(But seriously, how is Jana's relative impoverishment Kara's fault? And who the hell does Jana think she is anyway to put on airs like that?? It's like what I said earlier, how quickly peasant farm girls forget. How quickly nerdy Saskatchewan boys who were bullied in elementary school and whose mothers were social workers also forget. Someone needs a refresher lesson or two in humility). 

Also, fuck you, Brett Wilson (rape apologist). This will be my tagline from here on out. Don't tell Gracie. There could be trouble.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Influence of "Amazing" Reality TV Personalities

The portrayal of women on The Real Housewives of Toronto as self-absorbed bimbos whose main concerns in life are shopping, parties and abusing the word "amazing" until it no longer means "amazing" is pure mental agony. 

In episode five, I lost count of how many times Joan in particular, but all the wives do it, used the word "amazing" to describe everything from Grego trying on lingerie, to a grown ass woman's birthday party, to the commercialized New Age cult-of-self banality these people are peddling.

Joan has an "amazing" way with words. This is her verbatim describing three separate situations: "Wow, it looks amazing on you". "Wow, this is amazing". "Wow, this place is amazing".

The only wife I can tolerate at this point is the self-proclaimed Christian, Kara, which may seem surprising considering my initial opinion of her. However, I've always been skeptical of first impressions, particularly when those impressions are based on dialogue taken out of context, contrived scenarios and a manipulative editing technique known in the business as "frankenbiting". 

Frakenbite: A method used by reality TV editors to manipulate viewer perception and manufacture story lines by extracting the salient elements of a lengthy, nuanced interview or exchange into a seemingly blunt, revealing confession or argument. Source.

Nevertheless, despite the trickery of The Real Housewives of Toronto, with an eye for detail, a sense of the absurd, a basic understanding of female idiosyncrasies, cultural norms and stereotypes, as well as an interest in human nature, one can still entertain herself watching a program like this and in the process extrapolate some possibly useful, even truthful information. Why would a person be compelled to do that in the first place, you may ask? One name: Donald Trump.

It would seem reality TV and the celebrities it creates have a horrifying influence on society. Scoffing or dismissing this influence as beneath you, as John Doyle does in the Globe and Mail, doesn't make the influence go away, any more than ignoring blood in a man's semen makes his prostate carcinoma go away. 

In the meantime, as the malignant symptoms of cultural and global destruction are trivialized, little Donald Trumps, such as Canada's own Kevin O'Leary (the absurd), are popping up everywhere. They are busy spreading lies and fake news, expressing idiotic opinions, stoking hatred and normalizing despicable behaviors that have serious repercussions, which unfortunately significant numbers of people are imitating. 

And it's not only emboldening the lowest common denominator of populist sentiment, it's also emboldening OTHER reality TV personalities to jump on the bandwagon and express their self-serving, questionable beliefs as well. 

Do we really need, for example, another asshole with reality TV cred, who got rich off dirty oil, toxic tailing ponds, poisoned drinking water and CO2 emissions to give a lecture on critical thinking (source) and how we should all be mistrustful of science? But only as it relates to global warming, climate change and the same greenhouse gases that made him stupidly greedy? 

Make no mistake, these "brilliant" investors who make their gazillions leeching off the natural resources they had nothing to do with creating, as well as other people's sweat, tears and ideas, like parasites who cannot conjure up a single unique thought on their own, are complicit in the environmental decimation caused by Alberta's tar sands. On behalf of humanity's future descendants (if anyone's left after the crazies who have made the world an asylum are done): FUCK YOU. May your reaping be just.

O'Leary's co-conspirator and former Dragon Dens' reprobate, Brett Wilson, doesn't mind science if it's used to develop techniques to extract bitumen from his sacred tar sands, cast aspersions on Christianity, get an engineering degree, build a commercial spacecraft so he can vacation in orbit and hopefully never return, or find a cure for his own cancer, but climate science? THAT is where this paragon of critical thought draws the line. Here's another sleazy oil tycoon who gets his "facts" off Fox News and makes his employees read his books for him, yet claims he wrote a book all by himself? Sorry, but philistines who don't read and brag about it cannot write books.

Maybe I'm extraneously going off on a Brett Wilson tangent here, but these reality TV types are all connected and all take advantage of the platform reality TV provides them in order to promote both themselves and their "friends". My tangent therefore isn't completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Besides, I'm sure in my past cyber-travels I've seen a picture of him with Jana Webb on a date at some sporting event. Suspiciously, though, I can no longer find said picture and admittedly sometimes when I'm "sure" about something I've either been duped or I've been terribly, horribly wrong. So I guess I'll just have to live with this suspicion, too. Add it to the list.

But even if I'm totally off-base and this clown, who has dabbled in reality TV on more than one occasion and has a penchant for bimbos with dumb ideas, has nothing to do with Jana Webb (which he does – "coincidentally" both have fitness-related interests in Kelowna), I find Brett Wilson's pomposity as irritating as I do Roxy Earle's very existence, and he deserves some shade, too. I've disliked him with an irrational intensity (although nothing like this kindred, if somewhat lost spirit) ever since he was brought into my purview on The Real Housewives of Vancouver. 

There, he made a cameo appearance hawking his poorly written, incredibly dull, uninformative, self-aggrandizing, name-dropping piece of crap book while on a "blind" date with Mary Zilba. It was one of the most embarrassing things I've ever seen on a reality show. However, his failed attempt at branching out on his own in "Risky Business" is a close second. 

This is what a dopey capitalist spewing a steady stream of unregulated, redundant bullshit looks like.
Close your mouth, shut up and listen to something other than your own voice, relic.

The poor sod tries so hard, but doesn't quite hit the mark. He simply does not have the mental capacity. Whenever he's interviewed, does a talk or writes something, he uses the same three tired anecdotes, references the same book, the same movie, the same deranged actress, and the same Justin Bieber to illustrate his points. For someone who boasts about all the things he's accomplished, the places he's been and the contacts he has, you'd think he'd be able to dredge up a few new anecdotes from the ancient ruins of his Babylonian mind. 

I mean think of poor Gracie. It must get tedious for her, the "Goddess", who like Joan has an aversion to clothing, to have to hear the same thing over and over again as she follows Brett Wilson around the internet like a topi antelope in heat. Somewhere in the chaos of her jumbled thoughts she probably marvels at what dark force must have put a hex on her that she would be so obsessed with such an idiot. 

Incidentally, you shouldn't fuck around with the occult when you don't know what you're doing.

Digression complete.

As for the characters on The Real Housewives of Toronto, they are no less shameless in their self-promotion and twisting of reality than Wilson or any of the other players on The Real Housewives of Vancouver were. Granted, some of the promotion is for charity and that's fair enough, but the rest of what these people do is worthy of little more than exposure and ridicule.

The ridicule in episode five of The Real Housewives of Toronto begins not with Kara, which clearly is what the "unscript editors" were going for, but with Grego and Joan modelling some skin as they lingerie-shop for Grego's 10-year wedding anniversary. Joan gushes how "amazing" Grego looks, using the word "amazing" more than once, and thinks Pierre's eyes will fall out of his head when he sees her. Now, that would be something "amazing" to witness. My interest is unexpectedly piqued. Maybe it's foreshadowing?

Goofy Pierre squinting in an attempt to keep his eyeballs from falling out of their sockets.

But no. Pierre's eyes do not fall out of his head and instead we're treated to this cringy platitude regarding his over-botoxed wife: "I would describe Grego as a flower that keeps blossoming". 
Aw, what a precious flower Grego is. Just watch her eyebrows rise to her hairline and blossom into an extra head. What the hell do they put in those injections, anyway? These women look like they're transitioning into some kind of mutant hybrid after a science experiment has gone dreadfully awry.

The question is did he come up with that line all by himself or was he repeating what he was told to say? I'm going to guess that a man who marries a cocktail waitress he picked up from the nightclub he manages isn't exactly a deep thinker. I'm sure he's happy to deliver his romantic cliches and lame gestures no matter how they come to him, so long as his easily-impressed trophy-wife is conveniently placated. I wonder if Grego is as ditzy in real life as she's being portrayed on this show...hmmm.

Joan comes across as no less ditzy. I'm curious who her ventriloquist is because he needs some fresh material. Stop telling us what a strain it is to host a party, "relax", be "silly", get wasted, take off your clothes and respond to every situation with the adjective "amazing".

Long neck, trophy-giraffe, Joan, is permanently amazed, although it's hard to tell with her facial muscles so numbed out. God-forbid she lets a wrinkle express itself.

Joan is such a line-fed dummy you can practically see her lips moving as if she's reading from a prompter and taking direction from someone off-camera. She appears hyper-conscious of being filmed too, which makes her seem stiff and robotic. She moves her head like she's a car show model with rudimentary artificial intelligence.

I do not care for trophy-giraffe Joan.

Roxy and her husband, Spaghetti Sauce, I also do not care for and I don't think her inane birthday party was "amazing" at all. 

A face you can put on a jar.

The only thing "amazing" is the way the "fabulously" wealthy blow money when there is so much need and suffering taking place in their own backyard. Apparently it isn't so sexy and hip for privileged Canadians to help those in desperate need if that need happens to be languishing in cold, remote northern locations where camera crews are loathe to go.

Look at Spaghetti Sauce's face. Even he can't stand Roxy. Did she blackmail him into marrying her or something? Raghu:"It's very difficult to keep things from Roxy. She'll ask a million questions. She's very perceptive, so it's difficult to keep things from her."

Africa isn't the only place with abject poverty and unsafe drinking water, Joan. There is plenty of misery going on right under your perfectly symmetrical nose here in Canada, the same place responsible for all that wealth that enables you and your friends to throw lavish parties on a whim and shop for frivolous fiberglass dogs at $1000 a pop for some spoiled Delta Burke clone you hardly know.

Roxy pretending to be surprised about this ridiculous birthday party: 
"WOW! You girls! This is SO amazing! I'm so special!" OH MY GOD. Stab me with a fork, kill me with a spoon.

Not that Ann is too bothered by the struggles of her fellow citizens, either. She's more concerned about getting a cheap deal on a craftsperson's hard work, thereby depriving a starving artist trying to eke out a living at a measly 10% selling his wares on consignment at buddy Christopher's boutique. 

When detective Frankenstein-Ann questions Kara about her injured ribs, in an attempt to convey how painful it is, Kara asks, "Have you ever been punched in the boob? That's the only thing I can equate it to". Ann is utterly confused by this question and says no. But is it any wonder? I mean, at this point does she even have any sensation at all in those things?

I suppose every penny counts when you rely on cosmetic procedures to get you through to the next extravaganza of greed, excess and vanity. Narcissism is expensive.

The only one I can tolerate, as I've said, is Kara, not necessarily because I believe this broken rib business is legitimate, but because she's the only one so far with some halfway decent quips. They've gone totally overboard with the whole "vindictive bitch/out for revenge" angle too. 

Ann thinks she's being clever, sticking it to Kara with a custom-made sling to aid with the rib injury she thinks Kara is lying about. But Kara takes the dig in stride and with good humour. 
Kara laughs, "What's the cup for, Ann?" Ann is all saccharine and serpentine, replying, "People feel sorry for people when they're injured." Then to emphasize her point, Ann puts a coin in the cup to get Kara started. Kara laughs again, but she's on to Ann and as they part and Ann says, "So, we'll see you on Saturday," without skipping a beat Kara quips, "You'll see me outside the restaurant". Haha! Good one, Kara!

I don't know about anyone else, but I for one don't appreciate being played for a fool. The deceptive editing is so blatant, it's not even deceptive. If Lark Productions wants to passively-aggressively insult the viewer's intelligence and get away with it, it's going to have to be a smidgen more subtle than this, or at minimum be dramatic and entertaining enough that we don't mind the farce. Some of us will humor you only so much.

As for me, I think I've humored this particular episode to death now. It's too bad, though, because it would have been fun to get into some of the other absurdities of episode five, such as this "sound therapy" nonsense, or the ridiculousness of "super-sleuths" Ann Kaplan and Jana Webb. They and their dummy-crew of "Sherlock Holmes" filler-injected wannabes deserve a little mockery too, as they attempt to uncover the great "rib conspiracy" masterminded by the ever cunning and "vengeful" Kara Alloway. Stay sly, Kara.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Real Housewives of Toronto and the Slut Shame

The slut shame. Forward thinking, liberated women do not engage in shaming the slutty behavior and sexual proclivities of other women. Luckily for the fame whores of The Real Housewives of Toronto, however, Lark Productions is not a liberated woman. 

It might be a pimp though, and one that evidently believes it's still socially acceptable for pimps to slut shame. But there's no human trafficking here. This is high-class society. We're keeping things sophisticated. These women are prostituting their dignity willingly and it didn't even cost that much, either. Classy.

The script editors (with the approval of their programming executives) attempt to keep the slut shaming subtle, much like the fat shaming, but again are not especially successful at being inconspicuous.

Just you wait until the sun sets and the alcohol flows, this bikini is toast.

Episode four of The Real Housewives of Toronto opens with Roxy, Grego, Jana and Joan in bikinis, which in and of itself is an innocent enough scenario at a lake in the summer. But it's the lingering shots on Jana's crotch and Grego's ass – the telling Roxy to "stay on her knees" and the closeups of Joan's moneymakers, as she poses like she's warming up for a Hustler photo-shoot that give away the show's true intention.

Joan is sooo hungover after last night's "festivities". Skinny dipping and sex tents is hot and all, but nothing gets Joan in the mood like getting wasted so she can go down on Donald without gagging. Jana's like, "I know! Me too! My Muskoka guy was such a turn on after 33 shots of vodka!"
The producers flirt with the viewer's already illicitly conditioned mind to present sexual objectification as something that is, in Roxy's word, "fun", but also something that is "welcomed" and even desired by any human being who happens to be born with a uterus.

Jana, dishing out advice with that creepy perma-grin of hers, to Roxy:
"You know what? You can just go on your knees, if you want, that works too". 

This is the sort of thing that is causing great confusion in today's society. It is why 10-year-old girls comfortably dressed in leggings on a plane, living their lives, maneuvering the world, learning, having adventures and achieving their goals can be made into a public spectacle, and elicit such corporate panic and moral outrage.

My dream for future generations is that one day a girl can just BE, without having to worry that her very existence is going to turn every male she passes into a rutting pig she has to be wary of, or that society is going to pillory her like Hester on a scaffold at midday for the mere act of exercising her free will.

Stevie lets us know his privilege is "earned"
which is why he can publicly display his man-boobs without shame.
Can we say "double standard"now please?
However, the realization of that dream is a ways off yet. In the meantime, we have to contend with the demeaning bullshit fed to us via television and other modalities, such as that portrayed on the Real Housewives of Toronto. Bullshit like a liposuctioned, silicone-implanted socialite married to a flabby plastic surgeon who concedes that they are privileged but that it's an "earned" privilege (unlike the unprivileged who have that shit handed to them on a silver platter). 

Couture fishing hooker.
We are presented with a depiction of life, particularly a female life, we are encouraged to want and envy, such as Ann showing up for a fishing trip dressed, in her words, like "a couture fishing hooker". Nothing like obscene wealth and degradation to stoke a girl's ambition.

Kara (in reference to Joan's orgy party the night before), "Did you see the sex tents? 
I heard the tents were set up for specific activities".
Ann (feigning innocence), "What do you mean sex tents? What specific activities?"
Kara (smarter than she at first appears), "It's called a SEX tent, ANN!" (duh).

Why is taking your fucking clothes off and referring to yourself as a "hooker" considered the pinnacle of female empowerment anyway? Never mind any of Ann's other supposedly impressive accomplishments, let's get a better look at those knockers. How do people who spout and portray this crap not see how completely illogical, absurd and dangerous it is? 

Stripping someone of her clothes and dignity and parading her in front of an audience is the opposite of empowerment. It seems like this should go without saying, but then the issue is confounded every other week by another celebrity doing a nude magazine spread, proclaiming it's because she's an empowered feminist. 

On the contrary, outside of art and political protest, there is nothing revolutionary OR empowering about naked women. Women have always been told, from Adam and Eve to Aristotle, Schopenhauer, Darwin, Nietzsche, Hugh Hefner and Donald Trump that they are "playthings" whose main worth is found in their sexual appeal to men. If you want our attention, take it off, otherwise get back in the kitchen. Your opinions are a joke.

Today this dogma (and it is dogma) may not always be as overt as it once was, but the belief that a woman is only as good as the size of her measurements, the bounce of her chest, the sway of her hips, or the production quality of her fake orgasm is as pervasive as it ever was, perhaps more so.

This is why the accomplishments of women as remarkable as Jana or Ann, for instance, are overlooked in exchange for salacious closeups of their lady parts, or sound bites indicating a propensity towards promiscuity and cavorting in the buff. It's why the moral integrity of Kara and her distaste for "sex tents" is maligned as "prudish", and why Joan's sociability is portrayed as slutty drunkenness with a disregard for panties.

Joan, terrified, having never read a book in her whole entire life, nervously asks, "I can check this out, right?" Kara, proving she does read and is not an idiot after all, confirms Joan can indeed check the book out. The words: "I am woman, hear me roar!" reverberate across the land.

It's why Roxy comes across as trivial, obsessed with her stupid birthday as if she's an over-indulged, sullen 8-year-old child, and why Joan, in one of her signature revealing nightgown-style dresses, is depicted as not knowing how a library works.

I don't know if the objectification of women will ever be relegated to the bin of humanity's foolish past, but in the interim, as we await the manifestation of that far-fetched fantasy, can we please see some decent looking men on these "reality" shows? Ann's Stephen is amusing and all, but he's no Brad Pitt or Chris Hemsworth, or whatever strikes your female fancy. Forget slut shaming, give us women something to look at...for fuck's sake.

Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 1: Dumb, Plastic and Sleazy
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 2: Boring Housewives and Ugly Husbands
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 3: The Polished Real Housewives of Toronto
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 4: The Slut Shame
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 5: Amazing Reality TV Stars
Real Housewives of Toronto, Episode 6: Infomercials and Friends in High Places